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More books you should read if you give a fuck about your health

06/23/15

In January of this year, I wrote an article about important nutrition books to read. Since then, I read more and I learned many new things. Here is the second part (and probably not the last one) of “Books you should read if you give a fuck about your health.

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan (2011)

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

I dedicated a specific article to this book. To summarize, it’s a great book and I really enjoyed it even though I don’t agree with everything.

The Drinking Man’s Diet by Robert Cameron (1964)

The Drinking Man's Diet

This book was first published in 1964 and sold more than 2 millions copies in 13 different languages. It is considered as the orignal low-carb diet. It’s a very quick read (30 minutes) and a very funny one too. Although I tend to minimize my alcohol consumption and wouldn’t recommend to drink that much, this diet seems to work because the author of the book died in 2009 at age 98.

Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog: A Contrarian’s Guide to Diet, Exercise, and What Actually Works by Grant Petersen (2014)

Eat Bacon, Don't Jog: A Contrarian's Guide to Diet, Exercise, and What Actually Works

Grant Petersen, author of the best-seller Just Ride, has also a lot of interesting things to say about nutrition. In a collection of short essays, he’s destroying all the false assumptions we have about food and exercise, backed by the latest scientific facts. Eat Bacon refers to the fact that saturared fat is actually healthy and Don’t Jog refers to the fact that short and intense exercises are more efficient than running long distances.

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz (2014)

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

When I bought the book, I didn’t really know what to expect. What I found is a deeply researched investigation to understand why we have been told so wrong about nutrition for decades, and why the very good foods we’ve been denying ourselves are actually good for us. Take a look at this video to have an overview of what happened in the fifties that led us to believe that fat was the enemy to fight.

Foodist by Darya Pino Rose (2013)

Foodist

Last but not least, Foodist is a book I greatly enjoyed. It is totally in line with my current lifestyle of enjoying delicious food without really dieting anymore. When I decided to take care of my health 18 months ago, I put myself on a very strict low-carb diet that made me lose a lot of weight in a very short time. Since then, as I feel great again, I just need to maintain my current health and eating only real food helped me achieve that goal. A diet is something temporary and cannot be sustained over a very long period of time because it requires a lot of willpower and that’s something I don’t have. Foodist is the best resource I found to stay healthy forever, because life should be awesome!

What I want to read next:

Do you have anything else to recommend? Thank you!

My review of “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan

04/13/15

I just finished reading “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” by Michael Pollan. This book is a list of easy-to-remember rules to eat better. The original version (2009) had 64 rules but I got the new version illustrated by Maira Kalman (2011) which has 19 additional rules. It could be the only book you read about nutrition, and it could really help anyone find the way back to health, while maintaining the pleasure of eating delicious food.

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

The cover, beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman.

The book is divided into 3 different sections:

  • What should I eat? Eat food.
  • What kind of food should I eat? Mostly plants.
  • How should I eat? Not too much.

The first section is all about eating real food (what you can typically find at the farmers market) and avoiding processed food containing weirdly named ingredients (what you can typically find in the center aisles of your local supermarket). The second section explains that vegetables are great and should not be considered as a side but as the main item of every dishes. The third section was a little erroneous to me. Eating less is more a consequence than a cause of being an healthy human being. By eating real food and avoiding sugar and carbohydrates as much as possible, you will progressively be less hungry, be satisfied with less and like me, go from XL to M.

Also, Pollan talks a lot about calories but there’s not a single mention of the fact that all calories are not created equal. In addition, he seems to consider whole grains as OK (read “The Wheat Belly” or “Grain Brain” to be convinced that it’s not really OK) and saturated fat as bad (read “The Big Fat Surprise“), but you can feel he’s quite confused about it. He doesn’t seem to understand why the French diet, rich in saturated fats, seems to work pretty well. His conclusion is that French people eat less, and that’s the reason why they are not fat. As I said earlier, this is just a consequence, not a cause.

Despite these weaknesses, I really enjoyed the book and would totally recommend it to people who want to improve their health with rules easy to follow and don’t want to hear about technical terms like lipoproteins, triglycerides and ketosis.

I give it a ★★★★☆.

To conclude, here are my 5 favorite rules (with my comments below):

  • Avoid Food Products That Contain More Than Five Ingredients
    It basically eliminates everything processed.
  • Avoid Food Products That Make Health Claims
    Your broccoli doesn’t have to say it’s gluten free and has low fat content.
  • Avoid Foods You See Advertised on Television
    Only big corporations can afford that, and big corporations don’t want you to be healthy, they just want you to buy their shit.
  • Eat All the Junk Food You Want as Long as You Cook It Yourself
    You’ll notice that you eat less fries and cupcakes if you follow this rule.
  • Treat Treats as Treats
    Occasional exceptions are OK as long as they stay occasional.

I hope you liked my review!

Books you should read if you give a fuck about your health

01/24/15

A few months ago, I wrote an article (in French, sorry) about my new way to eat that is (for me) the good way to eat.

I didn’t invent what I said. Of course, it comes from my personal experience of losing more than 30 pounds (and feeling so much better) by dramatically reducing my consumption of carbohydrates (something that was suggested by my doctor, specialist in nutrition).

I also read a lot of books and articles about nutrition because it truly has become a passion for me. I’m now ready to recommend you some great books you should really read if you care about your health. It could change your life like it has changed mine. I’m not kidding!

These books are written by prominent specialists (mainly M.D.s) who have a tremendous experience and have seen a lot in their respective careers. The authors don’t agree with each other on everything, but they are all pretty much going in the same direction.

You’ll notice that these are all very recent publications. The truth of 2005 is not the truth of 2015. I strongly suggest you to forget everything you think you know about eating healthy and read these books.

Here’s the list:

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis (2011)

Wheat Belly

This book is about the numerous damages wheat will cause to your health if you eat too much of it. Seen as healthy by many, it’s probably the worst piece of food of the modern diet. We consume more and more of it but more importantly, modern wheat is very bad for your health because it has been altered over the years via selective breeding to become some kind of “frankenwheat”. The wheat we eat today is very different from the wheat we ate 50 years ago and it has clearly been associated with conditions and diseases such as obesity, diabetes, painful joints, heart diseases, cancers and many more.

Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert Lustig (2012)

Fat Chance

Robert Lustig is an American pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In Fat Chance, he documents the science and politics that led to our current pandemic of obesity and chronic disease. In the 1970s, governments decided that we needed to get fat out of our diets. Fat has been gradually replaced by sugar, which has totally disordered our bodies and ultimately made us fatter than we were before. For Lustig, sugar (and especially fructose) is the real enemy, not fat. If you don’t have time to read the book, you can watch the video Sugar: The Bitter Truth that has been seen more than 5 million times on YouTube!

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes (2007 & 2010)

Why We Get Fat

Gary Taubes is a science writer who originally focused on physics issues but recently turned to medicine and nutrition. He wrote two books about the subject: Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007) and Why We Get Fat (2010). His main hypothesis is based on: carbohydrates (flour, sugar, and starches) generate insulin, which causes the body to store fat. The two books are pretty similar so if you had to choose only one, I would go for the second one, which is more elaborate and explains how people can change their diets to get their health back.

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by David Perlmutter (2013)

Grain Brain

In this book, renowned neurologist David Perlmutter presents the following hypothesis: gluten and carbs are destroying your brain. Specifically, it can cause dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. This book elaborates one of the numerous assumptions found in Wheat Belly, focusing only on what grain can do to your brain. Unfortunately, we all know now that grain (and especially wheat) is not only bad for the brain…

That’s it for now but I’m planning on reading more books soon:

Do you have anything else to recommend? Thank you!